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On 30 April 2020, HM Treasury published its Direction to HMRC giving statutory footing for the Self-employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS). The document makes it clear that one of the conditions for using the scheme is that the self-employed must have been adversely affected by reason of circumstances arising as a result of coronavirus or coronavirus disease, in order to apply.

When the scheme was launched it was made clear that HMRC will use data on 2018-19 returns already submitted to identify those eligible for the SEISS. The relevant tax return should have been filed by 31 January 2020, but HMRC exceptionally extended this deadline until 23 April 2020 to allow the self-employed some additional time to get their house in order and to be able to benefit from the scheme.

The Treasury instructions to HMRC also makes it clear that the condition that the 2018-19 return must have been filed by 23 April 2020 is also extended to any other relevant tax years. To qualify, the self-employed also need to have traded in 2018-19 and 2019-20 and intended to trade in 2020-21. 

There are other qualifying conditions that must be met including that self-employed trading profits must be less than £50,000 and more than 50% of income must derive from self-employment.